We thought it might be a good idea to recap the process that your scheduling committee goes through each month to try to improve our quality through pairings and schedules. First, the scheduling reps in each base email us detailing what our fellow members are looking for in their pairings. The information they provide comes to them from flight attendants reaching out to let them know what they would like to see for the next month and/or what they feel didn’t work well in the current month. If you would like to see something changed in the future pairings, please reach out to your base scheduling reps. Hearing from our fellow flight attendants about what they would like to see allows us to focus on what we can try to implement when building the next months’ pairings.
As a CPA regional airline for Alaska Airlines, we do not get to pick and choose which flights we want to fly. Each month, we are given specific flights and destinations from the marketing department at Alaska. Destinations, time of departure, as well as frequency to and from any given destination change every month, sometimes they change mid-month. This means that our overnights change from month to month. And as we know, flying goes between SkyWest, mainline and us, changing month to month as well. This makes consistency in our trips very difficult to maintain each month. For example, the strong 2-day MCI overnight in GEG goes away on January 6th. Marketing has not said if we will ever get these overnights again.
From the 13,000 legs AS marketing gave us for February, the scheduling committee then tried to manipulate those into pairings that would give us better quality of life, via parameters and various tables (longer rest, shorter sits, higher block, etc.). However, everything boils down to money. The costs associated with the parameters and various tables are ultimately decided upon by management. We can make as many changes as we want for improvements but if our solution is not within the companies’ budget for the month, they will not select our solution. Then we start to take out some of the asks from FAs to see which quality of life features we can keep. It becomes a balancing act. Each parameter we place into the system makes the overall build cost more. This means that we are not able to add all the asks, every time. Some months we can add more and some months we have less. Most of the reasons we are unable to manipulate your asks is that the flights the company gives to us to fly change every month and sometimes, multiple times in the month. The software also builds trips that have overnights in bases and some of you have asked why this is happening. All we can say is that the software deems this as the most efficient, cost effective way to build some of these trips. The specific question of why is not easily answered.
With this being said, February was a very difficult bid to build. We ran multiple solutions with numerous variables and were unable to fit our solutions into the budget requested by management. We pushed for minimum rest to be at 11:00 hours due to winter operations and were denied this request. This month we will see the return of the minimum rest under 11:00 hours as well as several low credit 2 and 4-day trips. SEA will see most of the trips with overnights less than 11 hours mainly in EAT, GEG, and BLI with a few in other locations. PDX and SEA will have very few one and two-day trips. PDX has 20 day trips, SEA has 10 day trips and 13 two-day trips in the entire month. MFR has no four-day trips and two three-day trips. BOI has 12 three-day trips and two four-day trips. We did have solutions that had more parity in trip distribution, but the cost was too high for management. In the end, the difference in cost in the two solutions we preferenced and management’s choice was $2,601 and $11,176. We are very disappointed that even the minimum parameters we were able to preference, to keep the very little quality of life we have been holding on to, were not acceptable to management given such a small increase overall.
Some of you may wonder why we should continue to ask for the things we want if the company is not going to give them to us. We continue to say that we are still able to argue for some quality of life to our trips. Some months we can do more and some we are left with less, but we believe it’s better than nothing.
Parameters for the Pairing Solution
The parameters that AFA have in the pairing solution are:
The rest cannot be shorter than the duty days, either before or after said rest. So, however long your duty hours are for the day, your rest will have to match your duty or exceed it and vice versa. However long your rest is the previous night is how long your scheduled duty is the next day (so, if you work 12 hours during the day you will get at least 12 hours of scheduled rest that night and would not be scheduled for more than 12 hours the next day). There are five scheduled flight legs/day, which includes any DHs (of course there can be less flight legs). There is a 10:30 minimum rest in this month that is down from the 11:00 hour that we have had previously. AFA also added the parameter of 3:00 max sit times in PDX and SEA with 2:00 max sit times at all other airports. We still have SNA set to 2:40 to avoid any double DH situations.
February: There are a total of 1369 trips between all bases. Of those 272 are pure E175 flying and 277 are pure Q400 flying, so there are 820 mixed trips. That’s 59.9% mixed, 19.9% trips are pure E175, and 20.2% are pure Q400 trips.
Break down by base:
- BOI has 160 total trips; 0 E175 trips; 117 Q400 trips; and 43 mixed (26.9% mixed)
- GEG has 209 total trips; 14 E175 trips; 50 Q400 trips; and 145 mixed (69.4% mixed)
- MFR has 71 total trips; 3 E175 trips; 40 Q400 trips; and 31 mixed (43.7% mixed)
- PDX has 365 total trips; 28 E175 trips; 47 Q400 trips; and 290 mixed (79.5% mixed)
- SEA has 351 total trips; 47 E175 trips; 23 Q400 trips; and 281 mixed (80% mixed and this doesn’t include PAE flying)
- PAE has 213 total trips; 180 E175 trips; 0 Q400 trips; and 33 mixed (15.5% mixed)
Percentage of trips/day:
Credit per base:
We hope this month’s report was helpful and will continue to advocate for improvements for our members each month during pairing development process. Our schedule makes a huge difference in determining our work-life balance as well as our overall pay. Again, if you have any comments or suggestions, please advise your base scheduling reps.
MEC Crew Scheduling Liaison
Council 17 Scheduling Chair (PDX/MFR)
Jolene Vallelunga-Heller and Sherry Busch
Council 17 Reps (PDX)
Council 17 Scheduling Rep (MFR)
Kenneth Cantu and Nicole Lajuett
Council 16 Scheduling Rep (SEA)
Council 16 Scheduling Rep (PAE)
Council 16 Scheduling Rep (GEG)
16 Scheduling Rep (BOI